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North Buxton
Information about the city


The village of North Buxton was settled in 1849 by a white Presbyterian minister and a small group of formerly enslaved people. Once a thriving Black community, its population has gradually shrunk to less than 200, but its history is more relevant than ever as a new generation leads the way.

After the War of 1812, Canada's reputation as a safe haven for fugitive slaves grew because of the development of settlements like the Southern Ontario farming community of Buxton, formerly the Elgin Settlement. Buxton was one of four planned settlements for former and runaway slaves and its founder, Reverend William King, a white man, fought other white settlers to establish the area.

Crossing the Border: A Free Black Community in Canada
By Sharon A. Roger Hepburn
A story of freedom and flourishing in a community of former slaves
In 1849, the Reverend William King and fifteen of his former slaves founded the Canadian settlement of Buxton on a 9,000-acre block of land in Ontario set aside for sale to blacks. Although initially opposed by some neighboring whites, their town grew steadily in population and stature with the backing of the Presbyterian Church of Canada and various philanthropics. A developed agricultural community that supported three schools, four churches, a hotel, and a post office, Buxton was home to almost seven hundred residents at its height. The settlement (which still exists today) remained all black until 1860, when its land was opened to purchase by whites. Sharon A. Roger Hepburn's Crossing the Border tells the story of Buxton's settlers, united in their determination to live free from slavery and legal repression. It is the most comprehensive study to address life in a black community in Canada.

Memoirs of Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton Bart.
Edited by his son Charles Buxton, Esq. B.A. (1849) (second edition) (pdf)


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